It feels like just yesterday he was graduating kindergarten only now it's the real deal..... momma's boy has finally earned his high school diploma and you know I couldn't be prouder, especially after all he has been thru!! Our day started out with having to be at graduation practice at the Veterans Memorial Arena bright and early at 7am! As I started driving down the highway the tears began to fall.... I was taking Alex to his high school graduation practice and it was all coming so fast! I had been waiting for this day and praying that Alex would be able to complete the necessary courses to get to this point and he did it! He did it with a 2.58 GPA none the less!!! Needless to say Alex was WAY OVER STIMULATED and crazy as ever! He was very very excited and it was a bit hard for him to contain himself as the rehearsal began. Cracking jokes and spitting every 5 seconds (his new OCD habit or nervous tick, which ever you wanna call it). He practiced with the usher... rolling out and going to his spot on the floor. Once they ran thru the process a couple of times it was time for Alex to practice rolling up the ramp and walking across the floor. I wanted him to get a feel for how long the walk would be prior to actually doing it. Sooo, the usher rolled him up the ramp, he moved his leg rests and up he went.... walked half way across the stage and then sat back in his chair. Of course everyone went crazy because no one from school has ever witnessed him walking, lol! I on the other hand was NOT IMPRESSED the least bit because I felt like he was being lazy!! I knew he could have walked across the whole stage...... sooooo I had a little pep talk with him and told him he needed to step up his game!!! We left practice at 9:00 and rushed home to get him showered and gussied up for the big event to be back at 11:15 so family and friends could get pics with miracle boy before the ceremony. As everyone crowded around I took pics of Alex with all of his graduating class.... told him to "show out" and then sent him off with his buddies so that we could go inside and grab good seats so I could get him walking across that stage. We headed in and got the perfect seats.... just to the left of the stage where when he walked he would be walking towards us... perfect for video and pics! As we were sitting in our seats all of a sudden here comes Alex and he has his friend wheeling him towards us..... stinker had told them he had to go to the bathroom so that they would let him come and find us, lol! That was only the first of 4 times he came out until graduation began. The last time out, he really really had to go and I was told we had 8 minutes until showtime!!! Here I go running down the stairs.... running with him in the chair.... OMG you have your gown on... praying to God it doesn't get in the toilet as I'm trying to square him on the toilet to sit with all this clothing he has on.... sweating, panting.... rushing (THERE IS NO RUSHING ALEX) I don't know why I try, lol! I think I work myself up more by trying to rush him because I get frustrated and Alex only has one speed.... HIS! Off the toilet, in the chair..... off he goes..... this was it.....THE GOLDEN MOMENT!! I get back to my seat in the nick of time and here comes the pomp and circumstance music and MR. ALEX!!
Escorted by his childhood buddy Sammy Alvarez.......Cane in his hand...pumping it in the air..... gotta love that kid!!! Sammy put him in his spot and the Alex show began! OMG..... I should have known that an hour and 15 minutes would turn into 2 hours and I should have known what to expect from Mr. Crazy himself! He sat there waving, flicking Nick off (because he had the video camera), making faces.... My little 4 year old was in FULL SWING!! When you watch the video, I apologize in advance to anyone he offends as he thought he was being funny with his older brother videoing him not realizing that EVERYONE in the Arena as well as ANYONE watching the video was going to see. HE LIVES IN THE MOMENT....sometimes that is good and sometimes well.... not so much, lol! It is who he is today.... still learning behaviors of what is socially acceptable and what is not....when to speak the truth and when to keep things to yourself.... there still is no filter or inhibition.... hopefully in time the brain will continue to heal and that will be repaired as well. If not... we are in for a LONG ride folks!! 2 hours is a very long time for anyone to sit still... especially someone with a traumatic brain injury of his caliber. I'm not by any means making excuses for him.... only trying to make you understand that he actually did REALLY WELL considering his conception of time and sitting still is at about 25 minutes right now. Any who... as we are sitting there watching Alex and all of his antics.... the security waves me down and I figure that Alex must have to go to the bathroom so I head on down. As I get to him.... he informs me that Alex's behavior is getting a little out of hand and he thinks maybe I need to pull him out for a second and let him regroup! OMG.... is this really happening!! I walk over to the other side of the arena behind the stage and this lady comes up to me and asks me about his spitting. I have to explain that yes this is one of his nervous ticks and the more attention I bring to it... the more he does it. She is ok with that and says not to worry about that but could I please get him to stop "MOOING LIKE A COW" yes...you heard that right and could I get him to stop "FLICKING HIS FRIENDS OFF BEHIND HIM".... because it was just a little distracting to the people in the seats. OMG... I wanted to crawl under a rock lol! Security found me a nice little seat on the floor only 15feet from Alex and I gave him the LOOK OF A MAD WOMAN, told him to get it together or he was outta there! I then sent security over to tell him and reinforce because I figured he would listen to them better than he would me for sure! He looked at me, said OK "go back to your seat and take pics...I'll be good"...I gave him the benefit of the doubt, said a prayer, apologized to everyone around and headed back to my seat. Amazingly.... He contained himself enough to get him thru everyone's speeches and finally the moment we had all been waiting for!
Tears filled our eyes, disbelief at seeing him walk the distance he did and without missing a beat!! WHO IS THAT KID IN THE VIDEO? You see him pause and talk to the principle Mr. Simmons... He was asking if he could speak! hahahahaha!! Brother Joe usually gives up the microphone at church on Wednesdays so Alex can have his say... usually a prayer or a bible quote, lol! Now he thinks that he can speak any where we go!! Alex received a standing ovation and he LOVED every minute of it! God showed up with him that day... giving him the energy, strength and will power to walk up, across, down and back to his spot that he originally started. I can't even begin to explain what I was feeling.... there are no words to describe the happiness and the sadness I was feeling all at the same time! I truly could NOT BELIEVE how very far he walked and how great he did WITHOUT A CANE OR A WHEELCHAIR.... INCREDIBLE!!! His physical therapists were all really impressed and very pleased with how good he did and with his endurance! So much that Erica said "NO CANE" at therapy on Thursday!! YOU DON'T NEED IT! He still has a very long way to go.... especially cognitively speaking but when I look back to a year and a half ago where we were:
GOD HAS BEEN WITH US EVERY STEP OF THE WAY...... YOU'VE WITNESSED IT.... YOU BEST BELIEVE IT!!! I never would have imagined this day was possible on January 6,2010 but God had a different plan.... John 11:4 "When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
Thank You God for one more day with my handsome boy and for choosing him for the miracle of his life and a second chance at life. It certainly hasn't been easy and the life we live is certainly a different one with many challenges and obstacles each day. I refuse to focus on the negatives.... the positives are endless and our glass is half full ALWAYS!! I said earlier that Alex lives in the moment and maybe we should all do a little more of that.... enjoy and be thankful for what we have and what we are doing at this very moment. Enjoy our children more and focus less on the negative things they do.... focus on the positives and maybe we'll see more of that come out in the long run. I know Alex responds way more to positive reinforcement than negative..... I think you can see that in his recovery progress. Charles Swindoll said it best:
I've said it before and I will say it over and over again.... ONE PHONE CALL CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE..... whether it is YOU or someone very close to you.... you will be affected in some sort of way. It's a domino effect. Don't take for granted what you have..... say "I love you" everyday to those who are special and close to your heart..... Cherish every day and moment as if it were your last.... LIVE IN THE MOMENT.... Hug those babies and give them every second of attention that you can.... they just want our love and approval, is that really so much to ask?? Leave the clothes in the dryer, the dishes in the sink, the bed unmade.... sit and read a book together, or watch their favorite movie with them..... tomorrow is a gift and can be taken away in a second. If you don't know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.... or if you are doubting there is even a God. HE IS VERY REAL.... HE PERFORMS MIRACLES DAILY IN OUR LIVES...... don't wait till tomorrow to get right with God.... the reality is that tomorrow may be too late!! Alex doesn't even realize how many lives he has touched and how many people he has brought to God. BLESSINGS UPON BLESSINGS!! I would give anything to go back and get a redo..... but that is not an option. I must deal with the cards that have been dealt. God doesn't give us more than we can handle......My cup is overflowing. But I am in charge of my attitude and I choose to see rainbows and sunshine. We have missed out on A LOT of stuff.... Jr prom, homecoming weeks....friday night football games.... senior year....basketball games...... high school baseball, dreams of playing college ball but we have also gained A LOT. My son is alive.... no, he will never be the same Alex that I miss terribly.... but he is alive.... he is still handsome as ever to me..... he is witty....he loves his family and friends....... HE IS ALIVE....ALIVE....ALIVE.....AAAAAAAAAAAANND a High School graduate...CAN I GET AN AMEN!!!
YOU DID IT ALEX..... You really did it and I couldn't be more honored to call you my son today than prior to Jan 6, 2010. You can do anything you set your mind to do and I will be here for you every step of the way.... cheering you on, holding your hand and pushing you to be the best that I know you can be! CONGRATULATIONS SWEET BOY..... You have so much to be proud of. Never doubt yourself... keep reaching for the stars and remember that God has a special plan for you!! I am sooooo excited and can't wait to see what great things he has in store for you!!